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Wildlife Endocrinology Research Laboratory Internship

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Species Survival is offering a laboratory management internship to train a qualified and highly motivated intern on cutting-edge research on rare and endangered species through CSS’s Department of Reproduction-Wildlife Endocrinology Research Laboratory. Interns will receive training under the supervision of CSS technicians on laboratory management, materials supply, lab maintenance and reproductive research.

Please note: This internship does not involve contact with animals.

The Department of Reproductive Sciences is a world leader in the study of rare and endangered species. The department faculty is diverse but specializes in reproductive physiology, endocrinology, cryobiology, embryonic/molecular biology, behavior and the tools associated with assisted reproduction. Staff scientists have pioneered important concepts in reproductive biology for threatened and endangered species and created new conservation tools, including new approaches for noninvasive monitoring of hormone profiles; artificial insemination; implementation of a “mobile laboratory research” unit; and databases to track cryo-preserved biomaterials. More than 140 mammal, fish, coral, urchin, algal and bird species have benefited from this vast experience.

Learning Objectives: 

Interns will receive training under the supervision of the Department of Reproductive Sciences staff. Learning objectives will include record keeping, laboratory and equipment maintenance, data analyses, and data presentation. Students will learn first-hand about daily operations of a high volume research laboratory — from ordering supplies to material preparation as well as noninvasive hormone monitoring techniques such as sample processing (serum, urine and feces), hormone extraction, EIA assay methodology, troubleshooting, and preparation of reagents, hormone conjugation and HPLC.

Focus will be placed on the Asian elephant, but other species may include the clouded leopard, cheetah, African lion, Eld’s deer, scimitar-horned oryx, addra gazelle, Przewalski’s horse, Persian onager, Panamanian golden frog, maned wolf, Asiatic wild dog, dolphin, manatee, moose and whooping crane. This academic appointment provides the student with an increased understanding of endocrinology and reproduction, as well as experience in conservation research and medicine. Students will be given all the necessary training in order to work safely with chemicals and radioactivity. Feedback will be given as needed as the student progresses through training. Students will also be provided with recommendations for future internships/jobs as needed for a two year period.

Learning opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Cataloging and inventorying supplies
  • Laboratory management, including cleaning, restocking and preparing reagents
  • Fecal hormone extractions
  • EIA assay methodology and troubleshooting
  • Maintaining large data sets
  • Summarizing data and data analyses
  • Statistical analyses of biological and hormone data

Completion of undergraduate coursework in related field of study, including at least two laboratory-based courses, is required. Candidates should be efficient, organized and possess strong computer skills, including a working knowledge of Excel. They must possess organizational skills that can be applied to supply management and inventory.

Interns should be interested in wildlife medicine, conservation and research with Zoo-based animals. They must be able to engage within a team environment with staff, other interns and volunteers, and should be flexible, self-motivated and have a good sense of humor. Candidates must have strong communication skills and be comfortable with public speaking on and off microphone.

Intern must be able to travel to and from internship site, or fly into Dulles International Airport (IAD), and be available to devote 40-60 hours a week, including some weekends and holidays, toward learning. Intern must be fingerprinted and pass a background check.

This is an unpaid internship.
Front Royal
The intern may be provided with free housing at SCBI's Center for Species Survival in Front Royal, Virginia, for the duration of the internship, provided they adhere to dorm rules and regulations and remain in good standing with the project lead.
The intern will be provided with free parking at SCBI's Center for Species Survival in Front Royal, Virginia, for the duration of the internship, provided they adhere to the rules and regulations pertaining to the use of a personal vehicle on-site and remain in good standing with the project lead.
Term of appointment: 

This is a six month internship starting March 1, 2020, and ending Sept. 1, 2020, with the possibility of being extended for an additional six months. The start and end dates are flexible.

Applications must be submitted by Feb. 10, 2020. Applications will be reviewed, and applicants will be contacted directly for phone interviews. If selected, the applicant will be notified in late February. If applications are not complete, including references provided with the online application, they will not be considered.

Application deadline(s): 
Monday, February 10, 2020
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: Select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here," and complete the information to create an account. 

 Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations
  • Degrees held or expected
  • Two names of references that can be contacted.

Once you create your account and after you provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Wildlife Endocrinology Research Laboratory Internship”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA submitted application must be received by the deadlines as noted above. All prospective students must submit application materials through SOLAA. Phones inquiries will not be accepted.